So that was 2016

It’s always a point of discussion in the office as to which event to attend or when to hit the road and show off new products now available from DeckHardware. This was the case with heading south recently. I was going to go north, but in the end north and south got swapped around as discussion grew about Sail Melbourne.

So off to Melbourne and surrounds for the week, this time driving about 1260kms over the 10 days. I arrived in St Kilda, home of the last Southern Hemisphere World Cup of Sailing and Sail Melbourne for the invited classes on Sunday and as was the outcome for the next week with the exception of one day, spent my time answering questions and assisting DeckHardware ambassadors and members of the Australian Sailing Team. Each afternoon after seeing DeckHardware customers from Sorrento to Geelong it was a return to St Kilda to see how everyone was going. The last few times at Sail Melbourne, I was on either the start boat or mark laying, so it was good to sit back and spectate and comment on what was happening. Naturally I had a few new products to show and everyone loved the new LIROS rope now available, it was very much a case of get in the queue for the Pink.


As is the case in going to various clubs, there’s always a boat or two that I haven’t seen for a while. In this instant it was at Hastings on the western side of Western Port Bay where I came across a rack of Lasers. The incredible thing was that I’d built seven of the thirteen back in the 70s. I don’t know how many were still used but they must have been built pretty well to still be around.

I’m always grateful for my friends around the country who put me up when I’m around. My Melbourne hosts John Eyles and Sharon Rae again came to the fore with their hospitality. I’d sailed with Eylesie on many of his Indian Pacifics through the 70s and 80s and many stories are told over a glass of wine at dinner. Sharon has always been an excellent host but this time it was John stepping up with his efforts in the kitchen. I’d return to be told “we are having so&so for dinner and I hope it’s ok”. His apple pie was to die for, unfortunately leftovers for the following night were spoilt by Howie their little black four legged pie snatcher. Howie had obviously been watching John all day and wanted his share. I was informed that under no circumstances to pay him any attention as he was in the bad books. No evening walk up the street and back that night for the two of us.


I finished up in Melbourne by watching the medal races for the Olympic classes on the weekend. What was good however, was having the big screen showing the on water footage and commentary by Malcolm Page. Most of the time you listened and turned around to watch if something was happening on the course. Plenty of spectators, as well as those who’d finished racing like the 49ers and NACRA crews.

Then it was time for the Hume Highway and a little drive home to Sydney.

Boxing Day is of course known for two things in Australia, the Cricket Test at the MCG and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Start. This was to be my 10th as the Race Officer on the second line, taking over from the late John Hurley as the MHYC team leader. With a seasoned team on the Pin End [Steve, Toby and Phil], we tend to just do it when afloat. This years invited guest was Tony Outteridge, who for those who sail on the Lake is usually found as the Wangi Sailing Club Race Officer. This was Tony’s first time on the harbour on Boxing Day for many years and first on a start boat. Something totally different to what he’s used to, with the Super Maxis on the front line and the dozen or so TP52s that we had on the second. This year we didn’t have a clear start with a few boats pushing the limit on the pin end, Individual recall on the centre line! The other lines were clear, lucky them. As was pointed out to the competitors in the race briefing, the Hobart isn’t won in the harbour, there was plenty of room further to windward on the line.


One competition we have on the day, is to count the number of helicopters above. Last year we had 20, so on the guess sheet everyone was around that number. We were all disappointed to see only 10 for 2016.

So that was 2016 and a little bit of ‘I’ve been [nearly] everywhere’. Where I didn’t go in 2016, I’ll more than likely go in 2017. There’s more regattas and races to run and I might put aside some time to go for a sail a bit more often.